Agni - Peanut Butter Tanky Time
November 8, 2012
WTF is... tanky Agni?
A special build, which will confuse your enemies, completely mess up their ability placement, whilst creating a extremely gank-resistant midlaner.
First off: Agni's abilitys scale less effective with magic power then other mages. This is compensated by a fine scale by leveling up. Ergo: Agni looses less damage if he goes with low magic power.
Additionally, he has a high sustain and a ludicrous harass value by means of his ultimate.
As a second point, mid lane will be ganked. Often. Unless you play against clueless enemies (in which case you won't need a guide to win). A squishy midlaner is STRONGLY RELIANT on MIA calls and even if those are frequent and accurate, he may still die. Not so with tanky Agni.
Lastly, turning a mage into a tank is psychological warfare at it's best. Dumb enemies will eitherway throw their skills at everything in range. Smart enemies will try to burst down squishy targets = mages = Agni. I have a lot of fun by causing 2-3 enemies throw their abilities at me (usually including ults) in an attempt to burst me down. In a bad team, that's all you can do to entertain yourself. In a good team that's the initiate to kill 2-3 enemies with cd's everywhere.
In case of MID
Check the enemy gods. If they got 2 lanemages (or 1 lanemage and no Anhur), chances are high you will face a mage middle. If those restrictions do not apply (and you will probably face a physical mid) switch to the dual lane setup).
Stone of Gaia
WINS midgame matches against any mage. It simply does.
You got Protection against their attacks, HP regen to compensate ANY harassment and additionall MP5 for sustain. With this item (exspecially once you get the additional HP5 by upgrading it to 3 (do that asap)) you must be a moron if you manage to die against them below level 5. You will outheal harass of HeBo, tank the full combo of anubis with 40% hp lost and similar. HOWEVER, be aware of the minions, as they will chomp your HP really fast.
If you fail your bet and end up with Stone of Gaia
vs a Physical, play more defensive. Keep in mind you still got tons of sustain though.
Next up, grab the Reinforced Boots to get the important speed and some additional defense and HP5.
Lastly, finish the setup with physical defense. I quite always go for Breastplate of Valor
here, it as well gives the essential CD for this build.
In case of DUAL (or MID vs physical)
You CAN still use Stone of Gaia
here, but it could turn out problematic because you will not profit much from it's protection stat.
Instead start with Reinforced Boots and grab tons of manapots to compensate for the lacking MP5. Then grab Breastplate of Valor
and Voidstone, order depending on your lane enemys.
As you can see this build will trade some defense/sustain for a more rounded up offense. (trades MP5, HP5 vs Magic Power), which will generally be more useful on dual lanes (where you CB more often).
Let's tune up the heat
Basic formula for all RPGs: Health * Resistance = Defense
Accordingly, to be REAL tanky, you don't need to stack protection, but as well add some health. The best item for someone who can rack up creeps is the Gauntlet of Thebes
. Ultimately, you will end up on ~2800 hp, combined with your protection and mobility you will usually outlast your other team's tanks.
After your undoubtable survival is ensured... we still got 2 slots to fill? Let's stack them with pure offense!
and Rod of Tahuti
will give you the max Power possible with 2 slots. Doing it right, Doom Orb
is now without any danger, since you will never die anyways.
Usually you will now turn from tank to a monster which will AS A MAGE start tower (even mino-)diving whilst killing everything on low hp. People will OFTEN be surprised by your rapid increase in Magical Power, use it!
Whenever you have the time (usually during laning), trigger the Combustion bonus before lobbing a meteor/flames at enemies. Damage of this ability will be neglectable past midgame, just ignore it afterwards.
Take the utility a casual tank has, compress it all into a single ability and you get this: A combo-able, medium range AoE stun which can serve as instant-longrange-tag and Area Denial tool.
There are quite a few uses to this skill:
- The most obvious use is to combo it with 2 or 3 to create a stun. If your enemy is in range (and slow, or immobile), drop the Fumes and then hit him with 2. This takes about ~1.2 seconds windup (placing fumes + 2 windup) and every semi-intelligent person will dodge it if possible. Using 3 to ignite the fumes is much faster (and applyable on a higher range) but will put you off position (unless you use it to slip back in) and (!) waste your only 2 escape moves at once.
- You can long-range stun by utilizing meteors. Lob a meteor, then instnatly cast fumes at the impact location. You've got a timing window of less then 0.5 seconds. High ping or a slight lack of clicking speed will cause the combo to fail (meteor explodes before fume is created). If successfull, the enemy will be a sitting duck (which can, f.e. be hit by another meteor).
- If you see somebody chasing you on close range, drop the fumes and then use 3 to dash off. Stun + dash-distance will near always get you out of any engagement. If your enemy got really close, he will even take some minor damage by the groundflames.
- Since the cast is near instant, long-range and the (ludicrously low) ticking damage starts instantly, you can use this ability to interrupt CB's. There's no real utility behind this except for pissing off enemys, but it's worth the few dozen mana (combining this with meteors you can easyly interrupt a player's CBs ~2-4 times, causing them to waste nearly a minute running around and trying to CB, in best case).
- Placing the fumes somewhere in an enemy's path, f.e. on a jungle entrance will near always cause people to avoid walking through it. Since it lingers for 10 seconds, which is the length of it's CD, you can effectively have the fumes up, use them as a 'shield' (stun people closing in) and still get it off CD right when it vanishes.
Your basic AoE burst skill. Whenever you got enough mana (mid-late game) and nothing better to do, lob it at everything you see. Important to note is the noticeable delay between clicking and casting of the skill. Can be used to lure enemies (run off, start casting, spin around, WHAM). Don't rely on it's damage, it's not very high (with this build).
If you use it correctly, this skill can hit ALL minions of a wave. The AOE effect is barely long enough, but as well extends to Agni's sides. Walk up the melee minions, position yourself next to them and aim for the archers. Doesn't work always (semi-random archer positioning), but speeds up laning. Just watch not to do this without own minions.
The right timing for this skill is one of the main factors that makes you a good or bad agni. It's an excellent creeping skill, exspecially early on. If you manage to dash back-to-front through a minion wave, you will deal major damage to all minions. Later you can solo waves with this (dash through them, then stay right on the path and wait for the ogres to burn down).
IMPORTANT however: Using this skill to attack minions leaves you with barely any escape at all. With this build you will not have ludcirously high burst damage to 'kill you out of situations'. Throwing a 1 second stun at enemies doesnt delay them much, either.
Unless you are sure there is noone around who could possibly attack you, do not waste this skill for farming creeps.
ULT - Rain of Fire
Agni's ult is unique: Instead of getting the ultimate oneshot 90-sec-CD burst move, you get a very effective AoE utility.
To clarify the description of the skill: You charge up one meteor every 20 seconds (or 16, with 20% CD-Reduction). Launching the meteors takes a short casting (and a noticeable hit-delay) but ZERO MANA. In laning phase, NEVER run around with three charged meteors. Always drop the third into minions and let it recharge.
By utilizing this free AoE damage, Agni becomes a terribly annoying lanepusher past level 4.
How to play...
You will either start out with Gem of Gaia or 4 mana pots. Former gives decent MP5 and latter one-time mana boosts. Use your skills wise and sparingly and you will barely ever run into mana problems.
If it's feasible (read: enemy is not a lvl1-burster, nor does he posess stuns or pulls) use the jungle to get BEHIND the first enemy creep wave, then walk up to the archers and dash through the entire minion group (and in case you hit a god, run further forward to lure the enemy minions off). This will usually give you a fair lead for the first minute (and usually the enemy will NOT be able to abuse your lack of escape to attack you inside of your minions).
From now on, start using auto-attacks and Combustion'd Flame Waves to farm the minions. If enemies make a forward move, try to LET THEM HIT YOU (preferably once), then stun them. Free damage dealt by your minions. Otherwise use your 3 to escape whatever non-trivial danger there may be. Don't waste it because of everything though, either Gem of Gaia or Reinforced Boots will give you the HP5 necessary to tank a few harassing AoEs.
Starting with level 5, Agni turns from 'meh, annoying' to 'meh, annoy... DAMN YOU!'.
Save up the first 2 meteors after reaching 5, then start constantly harassing the enemy god with combustion-boosted meteors. Always ensure to hit at least one part of the minion wave with it and you will not just deal harassing damage, but as well keep the minions pushed. If necessary, drop a Flame Wave then and when.
Unless your enemy got HP-regen (or heals or buff or potions, etc), he WILL run out of hp sooner or later. This will force him to CB OR make him stay in your range. Which means his death. If you're sure you can kill him (and know there is no other enemy around / capable of attacking you), consider whether his ult will save him. If not, drop the fumes, dash into, hit the flame wave then start lobbing all meteors (keep in mind to aim ahead of the fleeing enemy (or at yourself if he decides to outburst you). Free kill. (if you didn't kill him, you shouldn't have attacked in first place.)
Keep in mind your damage as tanky Agni is not insanely huge, plan accordingly.
If you find yourself getting ganked, drop the fumes and stun the attacker. If necessary, use 3 to dash off. If the ganking enemy is squishy (f.e. a DD 4 levels below you), just burst him with your meteors.
If you built by this guide, you will often survive ganks, even if those consist of 2-3 ults. Which is effectively this build's main purpouse, wasting enemy's attention and ults.
Once you've got your Gauntlet of Thebes up, you should be pretty much immortal by now (assuming you don't rush into 1vsX situations). That's why NOW you buy the Doom Orb. Without suffering from it's drawback (no defensive stats and loss upon death) it's a great item to give you a pool of magic power. If you fill it up quickly, you may even will be able to surprise the one or other enemy with your sudden increase in damage.
To be useful in high-end teamfights, it's near always advised to grab a second power-item as last item. Since you need maximum power in just one slot, the choice should be the allmighty Rod.
During late-game, you can either keep pushing waves (utilizing your survivability and escape moves to survive teamganks) or help out in teamfights. Here it's not your damage, but the stun that counts: The AoE stun is barely miss-able and against stunned/immobile/heavyslowed enemies it's a free stunlock. Combine this with your teammate's ults and fumes become's an ultimate by itself.
(Example: Enemy are's pulls people in, you stun the stunned people again, whilst your teammate drop AoEs onto their immobile butts.)
Still keep dropping your third meteor (unless the enemy got heals) to slowly wear down the enemy hp in pre-teamfight stare-off's. You can as well initiate by dropping a meteor and casting the fumes before it's impact.
Overall, keep in mind you're a UTILITY TANKY MAGE. Draw some attention, waste skills, stun people, assist in dealing AoE damage. Don't try to 1on1 stuff that isn't terribly underleveld. Don't try to solo FG or push birds alone. Either push lanes and retreat when enemys arrive or stick to your team and pile up stuns.
This build is the key to solve the usual lack of tanks, whilst as well giving you mobility and adequate burst damage, together with one of the most powerful stun utilitiy (next to ults) in-game.
- From mid-game on, you will probably never/barely die again
- You can lure enemies abilities and ults or even tank towers
- Ganks will often result in frustrated enemies
- Good lane pushing abilities
- Great stun combo / teamwork potential
- Whilst tanky, you're still not THE TANK. Many opponents (4+) or overextending will still get you killed (as will wasting your escape)
- You lack the massive burst damage you will usually see on lvl 20 mages
- Many, MANY players will hate you after escaping the Xth 3-man gank
-BIG and IMPORTANT con: If the enemy team realizes your doing and starts stacking penetration, you're pretty much useless again (medium damage, low survivability)
I will not say this is the best possible way to play Agni. But it is a functional and VERY satisfying way to play Agni as solo player in pub games and can even lead to amusing carries (when too many gankers just don't realize they can't towerdive-burst you and instead get stunned).